Monday, December 18, 2023

Ten basic facts about the war the news media doesn't report

Here are ten of the basic facts about this war that the news media doesn't want to mention:

1. The conflict is older than Israel and older than Zionism. Arabs have held Jews in contempt since Mohammed.

The Quran includes the themes that Jews - as a whole - are "killers of prophets" and that they cannot be trusted to hold on to their side in agreements.

The Jews of Yemen wrote a letter to Maimonides in the 12th century asking for advice on how to deal with their persecution. His response included very pointed criticisms of how Arabs treat Jews throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The "kinot" - intricate poems chanted on Tisha B'Av, the Jewish fast day that recalls many historic tragedies - include oppression by Arabs of Jews. And some communities like the Tunisian and Moroccan Jewish communities wrote their own kinot about pogroms and attacks on their communities centuries ago.

19th century travelers throughout the Middle East often noted that the worst insult  an Arab could hurl at another was to call him a "Jew."

All of these were before modern Zionism. 

The Arabs don't hate Jews because of Israel.  They hate Israel because of Jews.  And all the talk about "Nakba" or "occupation" or "apartheid" are excuses for Arab hate created after the fact, not explanations of it.

2. You cannot assume the Palestinian side is rational. Their mindset is governed by an honor/shame mentality that is more important than what is best for Palestinians altogether.

The Honor/Shame psyche is a larger topic than I could do justice to in a tweet, but in short it means that some societies have a shame culture (much of the East) and some have a guilt culture (much of the West.)  In a shame culture, one must do everything to avoid being dishonored (hence, "honor killings" of women who embarrass their fathers/husbands.)  In a  guilt culture, people take personal responsibility for their own actions, in a shame culture, the guilty party tries to hide their shameful actions. 

Everyone likes to project their own feelings and attitudes onto others; after all, we are told to put ourselves into others' shoes before judging. But the two systems are utterly alien to each other, and both sides constantly attribute their own ways of thinking onto the other.

Israel's very existence is an intense source of shame. A small number of Jews, who were derided as weak and inferior, defeated Arabs in the one field they are most proud of: the battlefield. This is why 1948 was a "nakba," a catastrophe for the Arab world, and not just another of their many military defeats. They could handle being defeated by Christians since they were undoubtedly many and powerful, but Jews? The shame is unmeasurable. And the only solution is the complete destruction of Israel.

The good news is that this attitude can be changed. The UAE, Bahrain and to some extent Morocco have managed to look at Israel as a permanent fixture and a nation that they can cooperate with for mutual benefit  - a corollary to shame/guilt is zero-sum/win-win thinking. But Palestinians have entrenched themselves in the failed shame culture, and to them, any Jew they kill helps restore their lost "honor."

The Palestinian sense of shame is twisted. One might think that the huge amount of aid that goes to Palestinians would be a source of shame - no one wants to be the permanent recipient of charity - but they reframe it as reparations that the world owes them for unjustly allowing Israel to exist. 

Similarly, one might think that allowing so many Palestinians to remain stateless for 75 years would be a source of shame for  the Arab world, but they again reframe it in their minds as "keeping the Palestinian cause alive." It causes untold suffering among millions of Palestinians, but it is presented as being for their own good.

And normal Palestinians cannot publicly complain about this mistreatment without showing public division and argument among themselves, which would itself be a source of shame. They need to pretend to be unified, and this is one reason the most extreme parties end up on top: anyone who is moderate is painted as a sell-out, a Zionist, a weakling, and that is a source of shame.

3. That same honor/shame mindset means  that lying is acceptable - or even mandatory - when the truth is embarrassing. 

Lying is a primary way to deal with shame when there is no other recourse.  Admitting failure or defeat is the ultimate in shame so they must rewrite history, or even current events, to eliminate it.

Most Palestinians do not admit to wanting to murder Jewish women and children - so they make up stories that they were really murdered by Israel. Hamas doesn't want to admit that thousands of their fighters have died, so they call them all civilians and try to transfer that shame onto Israel, These lies are part and parcel of the Palestinian (and Egyptian/Jordanian/Syrian) world and I'm not even sure that  the people who say these lies can even tell the difference between truth and lies anymore., it is such a part of their mindset.

4. According to surveys, Palestinians are the most antisemitic group on Earth. Not "anti-Zionist" - antisemitic. 

See  ADL Global 100 Survey (93%)  and Pew 2010 (97%.)

5. Urban warfare is the most difficult warfare there is. The extensive tunnel system makes it perhaps the most difficult in history. 

6. If Hamas survives the war, it is a major blow to the entire Western world's freedom.

 Hamas' survival would be a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, which would become more powerful in relatively moderate Arab states like Egypt and Gulf states. It could destabilize those states which would have major repercussions. 

Iran is also invested in Hamas' survival, since from its perspective it has been steadily gaining influence (and surrounding Israel) with its "axis of resistance" including Hezbollah, Syria, and the Houthis. 

Speaking of, the Houthi threats to the shipping lanes of the Red Sea is another threat that is directly related to Hamas' survival.

Hamas has already been caught in terror plots  in Western countries. 

The West (and moderate Arab states) simply cannot afford to allow Hamas to survive.

7. The only winner when Gaza civilians die is Hamas. 

One of Hamas' major weapons in this war has been framing Israel as the aggressor and the immoral party. Hamas has been caught stealing aid, shooting at its own people, and purposefully placing its military targets with and under civilians. Its callous disregard for the lives of its own people is clear, but Western media downplays this, probably because it doesn't want to be accused of "Islamophobia" by nting how little Hamas cares about its own civilians.

Yet it is obvious. Palestinian textbooks and TV shows teach that "martyrdom" is their highest aspiration. They recruit children for fighting. Their summer camps are paramilitary training for even pre-teens. Dead civilians, specifically children, are major components of their public relations strategy.

8. Hamas' entire war strategy is based on Israel not wanting to kill civilians and willing to do anything to protect Israeli civilians. In short, Hamas views Israel's morality as its weakest attribute.

In previous wars, Israel has gone beyond international law to protect enemy civilians. Quote from two military war experts:

In the Authors’ opinion, use of lawfare by Israel’s enemies likewise shapes, whether consciously or not, Israel’s interpretation and application of the LOAC. In particular, Israel has adopted an inclusive approach to the entitlement to protected status, particularly civilian status. Examples include Israel’s positions on doubt, its treatment of involuntary shields as civilians who are not directly participating and its view that individuals who ignore warnings retain their civilian status. Although these positions might seem counterintuitive for a State that faces foes who exploit protected status for military and other gain, such positions are well suited to counter the enemy’s reliance on lawfare. In this regard, Israel’s LOAC interpretations actually enhance its operational and strategic level position despite any tactical loss. Along the same lines, in many cases, the IDF imposes policy restrictions that go above and beyond the requirements of LOAC.  

Israel has spent billions on shelters, on missile defense systems. It has traded 1000 prisoners for one hostage. Arguably, it has hurt its own security by pulling its punches in previous wars.

In this war, Israel has still been adhering to international law but it has not gone as much beyond as in the past in its goal to destroy Hamas. But Hamas built its defense strategy around Israel's previous concern about public relations and reluctance to go after key Hamas positions inside civilian areas. That's why Hamas has deliberately built its key defenses behind civilians, inside hospitals (see Kamal Adwan hospital videos from the past couple of days showing armed terrorists dressed as civilians, and weapons hidden in a NICU.)  And of course it took hostages to get Israel to release murderers and other terrorists.  Hamas built its entire defense system to maximize civilian casualties if Israel goes after Hamas itself.

9. Palestinians - West Bank and Gaza, Fatah and Hamas - overwhelmingly support murdering Jews. A huge majority have supported the most heinous specific terror attacks. And they overwhelmingly do not support a two state solution, except as a stage to destroy Israel.

Support for terror in the abstract has always bounced between 45-60%; support for specific terror attacks have always been huge majorities of 3-1 or 4-1. ... 84% supported the Mercaz Harav massacre in 2008, 77% a 2008 suicide attack that killed a woman in Dimona, 80% supported the wave of stabbing attacks in 2014 including the murder of four rabbis in Har Nof.
All sources are in this post of mine: 

10. The IDF is a professional army. It doesn't act out of revenge or fury. Every move it makes is for a specific military purpose and every attack has a specific military target in mind.

So many articles in the media claim Israel is acting out of "revenge."   Armies don't work that way unless they are led by dictators. 

The IDF, like any professional army, has layers of policies and procedures. It has more lawyers giving input into every operation than any other. 

Yet major media falsely claim that Israel wastes resources on attacking cemeteries or civilian buildings that have no military purpose. It's absurd to think all those layers of bureaucracy would approve coordinated, expensive operations just to act like toddlers acting out.

See here and here for two examples of how the New York Times doesn't even understand the basics of how the military works.

And note that the vast majority of people with actual battlefield experience have nothing but praise for how Israel is prosecuting this war. The critics are people who know next to nothing about how an army works.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!